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Production of Fast & Furious 7 will be delayed, but not canceled, following the death on Saturday of franchise star Paul Walker.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal Studios executives and director James Wan held a conference call Sunday morning to discuss the state of the film, which was on break for Thanksgiving, and whether rewrites will be required. Shooting had been scheduled to resume Sunday in Atlanta, but has been delayed until today or Tuesday at the earliest.
“Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years,” Universal said in a statement, “and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the Fast & Furious films, and to countless fans.” No mention was made of moving the planned July 11 release date of Fast & Furious 7.
The 40-year-old actor, who with co-star Vin Diesel helped to launch the lucrative Fast and the Furious franchise in 2001, was the passenger in a Porsche Carrera GT that crashed Saturday in Valencia, California, and burst into flames. The driver, financial adviser Roger Rodas — CEO of Always Evolving, the Walker-owned performance shop for high-end vehicles — was also killed. The two had been at charity event for Walker’s organization Reach Out Worldwide to benefit to benefit victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
A native Californian, Walker began modeling at age 2 and acting by age 12, appearing in minor roles on television series like Highway to Heaven, Charles in Charge and Who’s the Boss? He made the transition to the big screen with a succession of supporting roles in Pleasantville, Varsity Blues and She’s All That before landing what would prove to be his breakout part in 2000’s The Skulls. It’s that performance, opposite Joshua Jackson, that led Walker to be cast as undercover police officer Brian O’Conner in The Fast and the Furious. He went on to appear in every installment of the street-racing franchise but one, 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
“Brother I will miss you very much,” Walker’s longtime franchise co-star Diesel wrote Saturday on Instagram. “I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace.”